• Decrease font size
  • Return font size to normal
  • Increase font size
U.S. Department of Health and Human Services

About FDA

  • Print
  • Share
  • E-mail

February 24, 1914

Photo of the U.S. Supreme Court Building

The Supreme Court issues its first ruling on food additives. In U.S. v. Lexington Mill and Elevator Company, the court ruled that in order for bleached flour with nitrite residues to be banned from foods, the government must show a relationship between the chemical additive and the harm it allegedly caused in humans. The court also noted that the mere presence of such an ingredient was not sufficient to render the food illegal.


FDA in 2006


The FDA maintains a list of over 3000 ingredients in its database "Everything Added to Food in the United States."  To market a new food or color additive (or before using an additive already approved for one use in another manner not yet approved), a manufacturer or other sponsor must first petition FDA for its approval. These petitions must provide evidence that the substance is safe for the ways it will be used. If an additive is approved, FDA issues regulations that may include the types of foods in which it can be used, the maximum amounts to be used, and how it should be identified on food labels.



This Week in FDA History home page